Generally, I am an anxious, worry and easily stress person. I have become protective of myself.
My role in my family is more protector, middle person. I feel anxious most of the time even since I was as young as 4 years old, I have witnessed many quarrels, conflicts, silence treatment & occasional violent incidents (throwing of furnitures) between my parents. Around my teenager age, the frequency increased 1-3 times a day and hasn’t improve. Even till today, i have always been listening out and sieving out for noise at home. I was always cautious and want to defuse the situation. Aware of violence tendency, I be there to defend or protect.
I didn’t feel safe at school either when I was young. I people please, want people (students and teachers) to like me. Was bullied/outcasted in my teens.
In personal relationships with friends & work, i noticed I have no longer able to say feel safe with any relationship … actions include: deleting my messages after sending, hiding my true self (ie hobbies, ambition), trying to align my values with my friends, needing reassurance consistently, sometimes giving silent treatment/ shutting down when I feel unsafe.
E.g even being close friends for long time (I.e 5 years or more), I still observe every reaction and over analyse it on and off line. I have also realised that the state of over-worrying/anxious, lead me unable to enjoy/cherish the moment & bond I had with my friends.
I have always assumed my state of mind as slightly anxious, and since I don’t have panic attacks, I assume seeking help wasn’t necessary. My main question is whether is it normal, and should I speak to a therapist/counseller. I hope to be able to talk to others without having to over think, over analyse, looking out for threats/weak points.
I want to begin by saying that it takes a lot of courage to express your experiences and feelings. Your upbringing, witnessing conflicts between your parents and enduring a lack of safety both at home and at school have deeply impacted your sense of security and relationships - and it’s completely understandable to feel anxious and panicky.
Feeling anxious, constantly on guard, and having a strong need to protect yourself are common responses to the environment you’ve been in. So it makes sense that these feelings can affect how you interact and form connections with others, leading to behaviors like overanalyzing interactions, people-pleasing tendencies, and feeling unsafe in relationships.
The experiences you’ve described and the ongoing impact on your well-being are common. I encourage you to seek help - seeking guidance from a therapist or counselor could actually be beneficial for you. While you might not experience panic attacks, the persistent feeling of anxiety, worry, and the impact it has on your daily life is worthy of attention.
Sometimes, talking to a therapist can provide you with tools to better understand your reactions, manage your anxiety, and develop healthier coping mechanisms. I highly encourage you to seek help because these issues are clearly impacting your life, and therapy could help you navigate your thoughts and feelings in a way that allows you to experience moments without constant overthinking or fear. Therapists or counselors can provide a safe space for you to express yourself freely, without judgment. They can help you work through these patterns of behavior and help you learn how to build safer, healthier relationships.
There are many agencies, community places and hospitals that provide counselling and therapy services, and I highly recommend you to reach out to any of these places to talk to someone. Or, you could also start by speaking to a mental health professional online, which might be less intimidating for some people. Here are some options:
Last but not least, I emphasize again the importance of reaching out for support and help, so that you can experience emotional safety again. Please feel free to ask any other questions or share any other thoughts that you have - we’re here to support you.
Keep us updated, and let us know how you’re doing.
Thank you for being brave to share your thoughts and feelings here in this space.
I just wanted to share that you don’t necessarily have to be struggling with panic attack/ severely before you seek help, therapy can be seen as a preventive step to prevent an issue from escalating futher into something even more servere.
For example, you might be feeling stress from an upcoming assignment/ exam and you need some tips to cope with the stress, you can turn to a counsellor and he/ she will be able to provide tools and tips on how to cope so that your stress doesn’t turn into distress.
Likewise for your case, I would highly encourage you to seek help too to cope with your anxious feelings and even help with your other issues so that it doesn’t escalate further into something serious and it (further) affects your ability to function.
Let us know if you decided to give therapy a shot and how it has been for you. Looking forward to hearing from you again, take care!